Source: Melaine Karsak – I received this book in exchange for an honest review, all opinions are my own.
Publisher: Clockpunkk Press
Series: Steampunk Fairy Tales
Narrator: Lesley Parkin
Edition: Audiobook, 5 Hours 24 Minutes
Purchase: Amazon / Audible / Barnes & Noble
Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
To save the Hatter, Alice must work with the one man she despises so much that she might still love him.
Alice thought she’d turned over a new leaf. No more working for Jabberwocky. No more making deals with the ruthless Queen of Hearts. No more hanging around The Mushroom with tinkers, tarts, scoundrels, and thieves in London’s criminal underbelly. But she’d been bonkers to dream.
Hatter’s reckless behavior leads Alice back to the one person she never wanted to see again, Caterpillar. Pulled into Caterpillar’s mad schemes, Alice must steal a very big diamond from a very royal lady. The heist is no problem for this Bandersnatch. But protecting her heart from the man she once loved? Impossible.
Sometimes love is mad.
Curiouser and Curiouser is yet another hit from Melaine Karsak, one of my favorite authors. In this she takes the story of Alice in Wonderland and turns it on its head, adding something altogether new to a story very familiar with retellings.
Most readers are familiar with Alice in Wonderland, and it’s tale of whimsy. It’s off the charts strange at times, and full of characters that fit the definition of unique. Curiouser and Curiouser actually turn that tale of fantasy into something a bit more contemporary. Instead of journeying into a dream world we are treated to a story that stays in Victorian London. There are still some fantastical elements that I think were really well done. The world building is light but rich enough that I fell in love with the steampunk additions and the world of back-alley deals. I never knew an I needed a heist novel version of Alice until now, and it really makes me thirsty for even more unique retellings like this.
Alice is a young woman with a checkered past but desperately wishes to build a life outside of her former life of crime. She’s walked away from all that she knew to prove a safer life for her sister but finds herself pulled back in to protect dear friends. I love the clever way that our favorite Wonderland characters are portrayed in Curiouser, from a clockwork smiling cat to a mysterious and cruel woman obsessed with remaining young. I think James did an excellent job of paving her own way through the Wonderland mythos without losing her own style in the process. I loved that despite having the backdrop be London full of steam engines there is still a touch of the unusual in the story, which turns it darker and a tad more dire.
I have listened to Lesley Parkin in one other audio, Highland Raven, also a Melaine Karsak book and loved her work then. Curiouser and Curiouser is no exception. She does a pelthora of accents and different pitches for the assortment of characters and reads through smoothly. As someone who frequently hits the 2x speed option to move things along, I am always surprised to find narrators that I simply want to enjoy. I will certainly be adding more of her work to my TBR in the future.
If you enjoy retellings, especially Alice In Wonderland ones, then this is a novel for you! In fact, this is just the start of a series of steampunk retellings with the next one being Beauty and the Beast! I’m super excited to see what Karsak has planned for my favorite tale!